Posted by Logan Watts
In effort to dial in the feel and look of all the bits that make up their bikes, Salsa just announced a whole new set of cockpit components. This includes a couple new stems, mountain bike handlebars (also carbon), seat posts, and drop-bars now available in three finishes with two grades of aluminum. The most unique and interesting are the carbon versions of the “Off-road/Road” drop-handlebars. According to Pete Hall, the engineer behind the project, “We aimed for four main things on the carbon drop bars. Less weight, less deflection, more vibration dampening, and more room for mounting stuff.”
“The Cowbell, Cowchipper and Woodchipper Carbon are all 75g lighter than their aluminum counterparts,” adds Hall. Not a huge amount of savings, really. However, it was the potential for vibration dampening that caught our ear. “While the carbon bars are stiffer under deflection, they do soak up a lot of the vibration from small impacts on surfaces like gravel. This is purely down to the combination of carbon fibers, the resin material, and the properties of carbon fiber. It’s kinda like taking 5 psi out of your tires.”
In addition, Salsa made the 31.8mm clamping section 140mm wide instead 120mm as specced on the aluminum bars. The idea being that you could add more stuff to the handlebars. This was specifically designed to run the EXP Series Anything Cradle and aerobars at the same time, according to Hall.
In addition, for those who fear carbon bars, the Cowchipper and Woodchipper carbon are still both tested to the same ISO 4210 Mountain loads as aluminum. “These bars are obviously used for mountain biking and our testing and riding reflects that.”
My personal favorite, as shown in all these pics, is the Cowchipper. While the Cowchipper is closer to a traditional road bar than the Woodchipper, it still has a fairly radical 24° flare in the drops to boost leverage, stability, and comfort. I absolutely loved the design of this bar on our ride across Cuba. The Cowchipper is now available as the Cowchipper Carbon for $215, the Cowchipper Deluxe (7050-T6 series aluminum) for $75, and the Cowchipper (6061-T6 aluminum) for $50. Each comes in 38, 40, 42, 44, or 46cm and has 116 mm drop, 68 mm reach, 24-degree flare, and 12-degree drop angle.
See the full line of cockpit components over at SalsaCycles.com.